Former U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Bob Dole on Tuesday came out in support of Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt for governor.
Roberts and Dole backed Schmidt over former Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer as the attorney general continued to build on a series of endorsements headed into next year’s Republican primary for governor.
“In the 25 years I’ve known Derek Schmidt, I’ve watched and admired his strong and steady leadership,” Roberts said in a statement.
“Derek understands rural America and Kansas agriculture. He is an experienced and trusted leader, and is a proven winner,” he said.
Dole offered high praised for Schmidt as well.
“Like myself, Attorney General Derek Schmidt has made it his goal to put the needs of Kansans first and to make a positive difference for our state,” he said.
“He’s a strong Republican, and he has what it takes to win and to lead with common sense and decency.
“I’m proud to stand with my good friend Pat Roberts and endorse Derek Schmidt for governor,” he said.
Kansas Republicans – at least high profile ones – seem to be coalescing around Schmidt early in the campaign.
The attorney general has already received support from former Republican national committeewoman Helen Van Etten and Steve Baccus, who served as the chair of Colyer’s gubernatorial campaign in 2018.
He also received support from House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., who is expected to bring a boost to fundraising.
A political action committee with connections to western Kansas industrialist Cecil O’Brate also is backing Schmidt as well.
Last week, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Troy Waymaster, who helped Colyer four years ago, endorsed Schmidt.
Colyer, meanwhile, has secured endorsements from his former lieutenant governor and now Congressman Tracey Mann.
He also has the support of U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall. Colyer endorsed Marshall in the U.S. Senate race.
The Coyler campaign shrugged off the endorsements.
“Elections are about the future, not the past,” said Colton Gibson, the Colyer campaign manager.
“We look forward to a campaign based on our principled conservative solutions for the future contrasted with Derek Schmidt’s history of blowing with the political winds,” Gibson said.